White eyes starting spot in final season

first_imgAndy Fate / The Badger HeraldFor almost his entire life, James White has never been the lead running back.When he was a three-star running back from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., White was just an accent to his four-star teammate and UNC-commit Giovanni Bernard.When White arrived at Wisconsin, he was the speed to John Clay’s strength. He might have been the leading rusher, but he wasn’t the lead back.Montee Ball was the next man for White to supplement. Ball was the bratwurst. White was the beverage. Maybe Melvin Gordon was the finishing condiment. Once again, White was second in line. That all might start to change … maybe.In his last spring camp as a Badger, White has jumped up the depth chart, some would say by default, to the lead running back spot, as far as repetitions go. Finally.“James has done a good job this spring of establishing himself,” running backs coach Tom Hammock said. “He’s demanding his touches and he’s earning them. Every day he comes out to practice and earns more reps, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops once the season starts.”“Once the season starts” is off in the distance for White, some four and a half months before the Badgers take to Camp Randall for the regular season. It likely seems even further in the distance for the running back who has been in competition each of the last five or six years.The competition he shared with Ball didn’t leave as the clock expired on Ball’s illustrious career; it has actually probably heightened since the departure of the all-time touchdowns leader.Joining White in the Badgers’ backfield again is redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon. The exciting jet-sweep specialist from 2012 excelled enough toward the end of the season to get many thinking White would once again be singing the second verses of the running back band.But while Gordon has been sidelined recently for Wisconsin’s practice, redshirt junior Jeff Lewis also threw his name into the mix, rushing for 74 yards on 16 carries during Saturday’s scrimmage, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. No matter where he seems to go, White tends to bring a competition with him.“I won’t say committee, but I’m going to let these guys fight for those carries,” Hammock said of his attempts to fill the void left by Ball, which may take all of three backs to satisfy. “If you want 20 carries, fight for them, and then go out there and earn it during the game.”It’s obvious that fighting for carries is nothing new to No. 20. What is likely new for him, however, is the leadership role he is now thrust into as the lone senior running back. Until this point, White always had an upperclassman leading the way. Now it’s his turn to lead.“We’re all competing out here, all the running backs. Everybody is fighting for that starting job,” White said. “I’m just trying to work hard and have a positive attitude out here and try to lead by example.”He sure did that during Saturday’s scrimmage. White did most of his damage on a pair of long runs in addition to a goal line touchdown carry. White said those carries are exactly how he likes to run; taking what his offensive line gives him and “wait for the long runs to come.”Those long runs are a big part of what White brings to the table as a running back. They are a big reason why he leads the nation in rushing among all returning running backs.While Ball had his days of explosiveness, White’s pedigree stems from finding seams and accelerating into the defensive backfield. It’s what Hammock enjoys seeing from him, too.“For the type of back that you are, you’ve got to make people miss,” Hammock said,  reciting what he tells White. “At the end of the day, when you’re in the open field, you’ve got to want it. That changes drives, that changes games, that changes seasons.”Having White lead the backfield also changes things a bit for redshirt sophomore fullback Derek Watt.Watt earned the starting fullback position in 2012 and will more than likely own the position again this season. He’ll be blocking for an entirely different lead back, however, regardless of whether White is the man or not.“[White] is a little more shifty – he can get outside and he can squeeze through little openings,” Watt said. “He’s a little different than Montee, not quite as big; he’s a lot smaller. But he’s got his own little way of doing things.”That might come from his upbringing, or at least Hammock would like to think so. His coach presumes that, if it comes White’s way, assuming the lead running back spot would be a product of how his parents raised him.“The one thing about James White is that he is the most solid, hard-working individual that I’ve been around,” Hammock said. “He’s going to come to work every day and not say two words.”“I call him the true professional because he knows what it takes.”last_img read more


Muslims Urged to Avoid Discrimination

first_imgThe Chief Imam of the Muslim Community in Nimba County, Alhaji Isa Siaway, has called on Muslims across the country to desist from discrimination and be honest and respectful to everybody, especially non- Muslims.Speaking to reporters in Ganta shortly after the breaking of Ramadan, last Friday, Imam Siaway said that the Islamic religion belongs to all races, regardless of ethnicity and location. “Be a God fearing Muslim and stop any form of discrimination because our God who created us is honest and has compassion for everybody, so we shouldn’t discriminate against others for who they are,” Imam Siaway saidImam Siaway who came from a Christian background, cautioned his fellow Muslims to be respectful of others, especially non-Muslims. That is the only way to win them over to the Islamic faith, he said.“This Islamic religion is clear and simple to all races. It doesn’t favor any race, tribe or from which location one comes,” he added.Prior to the civil unrest in Liberia, the Muslim and Christian communities lived together with no form of harassment, intimidation or molestation, several Muslims who talked to the Daily Observer in Ganta, said.They claimed that politicians and others caused divisions between the two communities and it led to the destruction of churches and mosques, especially in Nimba County.“Now the relationship is once again improving greatly,” said another Muslim who did not want to be identified. “But there still remains some bitterness when it comes to ownership of properties or lands,” he added.Even though Imam Siaway did not mention this in his press briefing, it is widely acknowledged that the Islamic religion belongs to a particular tribe, mainly ethnic Mandingoes, who brought the religion or introduced it to Nimba County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more